- As Slobodan Milosevic, the Yugoslav president, faces
the prospect of defeat at the polls for the first time in his political
career, it has emerged that he has begun building an underground bunker
complex for himself beneath a villa in eastern Serbia once used by Marshal
Tito, writes Tom Walker.
- (Note - Many world 'leaders' are building or have built
secret underground complexes. Nuclear war, biowarfare, meteor strike,
epidemics, and many other potential disasters are prompting a quiet but
concerted effort by private citizens and politicians to build survival
- The extensive renovations of the former Yugoslav dictator's
residence on a mountain known as Crni Vrh near the town of Bor come amid
speculation in Belgrade about Milosevic's likely next move.
- The formation of a new army unit designated to re-turn
to Kosovo suggests Milosevic is willing to make more mayhem, but the strange
goings-on at Crni Vrh indicate that he is contemplating life as a private
citizen wanted for war crimes.
- There is speculation that the bunker may provide him
with refuge from international investigators trying to bring him to trial
or even his own fellow countrymen if the popular mood turns against him.
- News of the extensions under the villa - known to locals
as "the forbidden city" - leaked out after Marko, Milosevic's
freewheeling son, returned from a visit there, and told staff at his private
Madonna discotheque in the clan's home town of Pozarevac that his father
feared the worst. Only the villa's roof is visible from the nearest road,
but powerful lights illuminate the site at night. Villagers say Milosevic
normally travels there by helicopter, and he is said to have spent much
of the Nato air campaign in a command bunker there.
- The elections, set for September 24, will probably determine
whether Milosevic has to retreat to Crni Vrh for his own safety. Already
his security forces appear to be doing everything possible to turn the
election his way, with the formation of an elite army unit in southern
Kosovo an obvious ploy to swing voters.
- About 1,000 infantry, backed by 200 tanks, armoured vehicles
and helicopters, have begun exercises known as Return 2000, a clear reference
to the army's desire to take up a clause in the Nato military agreement
for Kosovo that allows limited numbers of Yugoslav soldiers back into the
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